May 18, 2016 | 12:00 pm

Project team: Ethan Chiou, Christie Dierk, Maggie George, Shana Hu, Siqi Wang

Course: Critical Making, spring 2016

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Spark is a unisex, multipurpose scarf designed to increase awareness of sexual harassment. Those who commonly experience sexual harassment can wear the scarf to discreetly mark locations where they were harassed, adding to a collection of data points of troubling locations. They can then pass on Spark to a friend who does not typically experience sexual harassment. When the friend wears Spark near a previously marked location, Spark lights up and literally sends a chill down their spine, making them feel more visible and uncomfortable. Spark gives a material form to the narrative of one’s experiences with sexual harassment, allowing others who may not directly experience similar incidents to build empathy.

In designing Spark, the team chose to make a scarf because of its everyday use, ability to be easily worn by multiple people, and its closeness to the wearer. The design and fabrication process included user research, electronics wiring, work with software, and hands-on elements like laser-cutting and sewing hardware into the scarf’s fabric.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.26.07 AM


Want to learn more about Spark and its designers? Check out:

Spark on GitHub

Spark on YouTube

Topics: Gender, Laser cutting, Social engagement, Speculative design